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Believe it or not, it was not too long ago (early 2010 to be exact) when the name Jennifer Lawrence meant about as much as Jane Smith. Yet nowadays, Miss Lawrence is up there with the likes of Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and the other highly sought after actresses of her era. So where did this shining star come from, and how did she rise through the ranks so quickly? Well, I’m here to tell you!
As of early 2010, Jennifer Lawrence’s resume was pretty unremarkable. The only “notable” things to pick out would be her role as Bill Engvall’s daughter on the unfunny TV comedy, “The Bill Engvall Show”, which was cancelled after three seasons and then there was her costarring role with Charlize Theron in The Burning Plain. To be in a film with Theron is a great achievement, however the film offered poor material for the two actresses. Lawrence’s career changed forever in 2010 when her star-making role in Winter’s Bone hit theaters.
The film from Debra Granik offered viewers a gritty look into the social structure of the backwoods of rural Kentucky. Lawrence plays Ree, a 17 year old who must tend to her younger siblings and her mother all while she must track down her crystal meth dealing father in order to save her house and land from being taken away. The role called for great strength and Lawrence brought just that. What’s most surprising is how despite her stunning looks she was able to blend in with her homely costars and background. Winter’s Bone premiered at Sundance, and despite a small figure at the box office it was able to pick up four Oscar nods, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Lawrence.
As you can imagine, picking up an Oscar nod at the age of 20 is a huge feat and a major career boost. She followed up her Oscar nod with supporting roles in two respected indies, Like Crazy and The Beaver. Then Lawrence stepped completely out of her comfort zone by taking a role in her first blockbuster, X-Men: First Class.
One must be careful when rising through the ranks in Hollywood. It’s next to impossible to move up, but it’s pretty damn easy to move down. Lawrence was just getting started and made sure she will be here to stay. X-Men: First Class is not your typical superhero movie, and gave her the material to let her abilities shine. This was also the first time that mainstream audiences got a peak at her and it seems they have been in love ever since.
Now, here we are in 2012. After a number of indies, an Oscar nod, and a superhero movie, you would think that one’s star power would peak. This is not the case for Jennifer Lawrence. 2012 took her from rising star to international superstar. “Why?” you might ask. The answer is simple: The Hunger Games.
As I discussed in my post from March, The Hunger Games came out of the world of Harry Potter/Twilight but gave us something darker and more relatable. Somehow Jennifer Lawrence is able to find strong female roles in a world full of sexual and/or weak female roles. How she is able to find these roles remains a mystery, but I am sure happy that she does!
Her 2012 did not end there. On the contrary, it is still alive and well because of her latest film, Silver Linings Playbook. We see another new side of this young actress as she takes on the role of Tiffany, a mentally unstable young woman with a possible case of nymphomania. She stars alongside Bradley Cooper, who suffers from bipolar disorder and another possible mental disorder, and the two begin to form an angry, quirky yet all-around lovable romance.
Could another Oscar nod be in store for Lawrence? I think the odds are in her favor (Sorry, I had to make the lame Hunger Games reference). The Best Actress field is looking pretty weak this year, and, with Meryl Streep out of the way, a performance like Lawrence’s in Silver Linings Playbook could get a nod and then the win.
I can already see this clip playing at the Oscars come February.
Jennifer Lawrence, thank you for giving us strong, complex, and deliciously entertaining performances every time. You are still very young, and it will be a joy to watch how far you go in the business. Best of luck!
In case you haven’t seen any of Miss Lawrence’s movies, I suggest hitting the theaters now and checking out Silver Linings Playbook. It will be the best choice you have made all week. Happy moviegoing!